A blade touches the ice, gliding along, scratching the white, cold surface as it moves. The skater jumps in the air on one foot, spinning once, twice, and once more as they land on the opposite foot, landing a triple axel. The crowd cheers loudly as the skater’s arms fly out in happiness. Whoa, let’s rewind…this is no 1991 competition. This is an anime about a simple Japanese 23-year-old male, trying to find who he is in this completive world of ice skating. Back up now…or better yet, let’s flash forward.
Now forget about history for once, or the fact Olympics exists for now, because in this anime it isn’t even about that.
Starting off solid with a competition, a norm in the sports anime currently, and as a sports anime, the breakdown of the plot should be simple enough. It’s one word: competition, competition, completion. Yes, this anime is filled with men going at it in a better wardrobe than anyone, and with pretty much the same routine, over and over and over and over again. Getting bored yet? Good. That’s what I like to hear! Keep spinning around just like they do in the anime when they finish they’re routine. Oh man, I’m getting dizzy. Let’s move on.
Now, now, it isn’t just about the fact these guys can spin like ballerinas on ice better then ballerinas can on normal flooring. These guys are Olympic worthy, but that’s not the point. The point is the coming to age story of the 23-year-old man returning home after college and a hard defeat in the skating world. He’s just figuring him-self out! The 23-year-old is still young, and anyone can make mistakes, change their course, and twirl into a different direction. Through this, the atmosphere of the work is fantastic. My heart is leaping after each episode, reaching for more and more. I feel my fangirl coming alive. The comedy, oh lord, the comedy! I laughed after each hilarious moment! However, something is missing. Something big!! Something more I crave after each and every single episode.
Where is my drama?? Yes, drama! There was a need for so much more drama! This anime would’ve been amazing if there was a touch of drama in the plotline more than there was. There was only positive outlook, and although the meaning of it was well reached, I did need that drama for balance… to be able to reach out for that positivity. How could there be positivity without dark dramatic inspiration? Things that should’ve been shown were not shown at all. Competitive sports needs drama for it to flow, for it to move freely. There needed to be that negative backstory for a positive comeback to happen! There was limited drama in this, not enough to label it as the genre it deserved.
Okay, I’m defeated. The art wasn’t that bad. Perhaps I was too enhanced on how well designed these men’s bodies were, but honestly, the flow of the animation was really well laid. The speed of when the character’s routines were in play, I would’ve thought there would be some mistakes, but it was pretty smooth. But not all can be sparkles and glitter. There were a few tweaks and bloopers that humans made, which is normal. No problems.
The character design…okay, guys, I love this design. It was great! This is the design. Although, I would’ve liked better designs surrounding a few characters since this anime featured many multicultural characters. I’m not flailing my arms like a madwoman, but I do wish a few of the characters were tweaked.
So…please rise for the opening sequence. Holy cheese on a stick! Can I get anymore hyped about this opening? I was legit dancing. The opening for this anime is fun, exciting, and enough to get you on your feet to dance to. In addition, it doesn’t show boring slideshows, but a splatter of skating dance moves of all three main characters. Beautifully well done!
For voice acting, the Japanese is really well done even though each character is speaking Japanese regardless of their nation. But it would’ve been fun to have each nation to have their own language when spoken to each other. I did have a listen to the English dubbed, and I would like to give some good kudos to the English voice actors for trying to corporate the accents their characters were from. Although spoken all in English, the accents were fine enough to listen too.
Ah the characters. Let’s start off with the youngest shall we? Yuri Plisetsky, a 15-year-old Russian who is trying to be older than he really is. He’s supposed to be a main character, and we don’t get much. Oh how I wish we could’ve seen more of him. Honestly, there can be a whole spin-off made from him. There is hardly no backstory on him, no history on why he acts the way he acts (although harsh coaching and parenting when he was younger could be the answer). There is a soft side to the boy, which was nice to see for five minutes, which is seen from his grandfather briefly. He’s extremely lacking…however, he is a main character for a reason. He’s the antagonist obviously…duh! But that’s not just it…he is the youngest person in the show who is competing with guys twice his age. He’s inspirational, harsh for the others competing, and proves that anyone at that age doesn’t matter. Well rounded character overall, but needs to be completed.
Victor Nikiforov…ah…this handsome fellow. Oh how I wish you were real. I need a Victor in my life. One that holds pom poms and cheers for me when I do exams…actually, no that would be distracting…and for all the wrong reasons. He is what puts comedy in this show. He’s a positive outlook on competitive sports and has a spirit that puts motivational speakers to shame. He inspires people to do their best after he knows he might’ve not done so himself. He doesn’t have a selfish bone in his body! And that’s the problem. He’s a bit too perfect. Not only is he a bit too positive, hilarious, and handsome, but he has no backstory, no weakness. How can a guy like this not have a reason to be who he is? I want to know his inspiration. What? Or better yet, who does he look up to? Before he met Yuri! That is the question. In addition, he needs a weakness. There is a sort of secret that he’s keeping. One that will add the drama to the story. Oh, how I will dream of the day!
Yuuri Katsuki, the main man of the story, the story it is based around, the 23-year-old man I was speaking about at the beginning of this review. Our protagonist is a normal Japanese man just trying to figure himself out. He goes back and forth between struggling to find himself, fighting depression, finding love and happiness, and going through a journey that changes his life. He has great character development, one that really fits this story well. He is the coming-to-age character we want to see in the anime. But there he needs to start acting his age and not act so awkward like a 15 year old teenager.
The rest of the characters really match up towards completive spirit. Shout out to the Canadian character! Good to see that! But I would love to see a tougher performance and competition in the anime. It’s no Olympic games, but I do need some action.
So I’ve figured out I have this thing for sports anime that makes me watch them at a really fast pace regardless how good they are in terms of content. I watched this show in less than 12 hours…yes, you heard me right folks! 12 hours! This show had some really good moments were I screamed like a fangirl, and moments where I sat staring at the screen wondering if I should wait a few days until the watching the next episode. I found myself captivated in the way these men moved; although anime, felt like I was watching real life skaters. And in occasion of the Pyeongyang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, I felt it was right to watch.
In short, I was inspired. As a retired completive athlete, I enjoyed watching these characters go at it, sharing their “short” story, trying to reach the top of the world. I felt the nostalgia of competing. Although not in the same sport, I know the same anxiety of going out there, being under pressure, and seeing the disappointing look in the coach’s eyes. I get it all.
Which is maybe why I have such a connection to these types of show.
Yuri on Ice is a whirlwind of excitement. It shows the themes of love, support, and inspiration while mentioning that it’s okay to have fun at what you love to do regardless of the outcome. Passion comes first when dancing the night away on thin blades. It’s a slippery road, but as long as the path is clear what the hell, right?
I give this anime a 65% on the skating scale.